This infographic was recently released at Autodesk's 2016 One Team Conference, I think it’s a great visual and shows many of the trends and futures we are seeing in UK Construction. I wanted to position my views around this and start the debate about where this is all heading. Where do I start?
We talk at Autodesk about 3 Era’s:
The Era of Documentation – going back to 1981 when AutoCAD was released and adopted by a range of industries growing to over 19 million users worldwide.
The Era of Optimisation – from 2D to 3D we started to see the acceleration of BIM, with 75% of contractors reporting a positive ROI on their investment. In the UK 93% of owners will require (BIM Mandate) or encourage BIM on new projects.
The Era of Connection – this is where the Internet of Things and BIM collide. Products like Nest heating controls are connected to the internet and controlled by your IPhone, over 50bn devices will be connected to the internet by 2020 with 10bn more per year, many of these will be sensors. I saw this week that Cisco are working with Philips on smart lighting and instead of having electrical wiring in your home, your lights could be connected by CAT5 Ethernet cables. This consumerisation means were all interacting with technology much more and at a faster pace. Teams are expecting access to data faster, always on, from anywhere.
How does your team currently collaborate? Do you have access to a common data set, which is secured, available anywhere and easy to use? Are you accessing new skill sets and talent with remote workers? There are going to be big gains available to businesses where collaboration is part of the culture and easy to use.
When collaboration and connection meet, there will be a huge of amount of enterprise insight that can be gained from the data. Which of your projects are being delivered faster? Which suppliers respond faster? Why is the health and safety of this site better than that one? Why is quality higher here….sounds like a big data discussion…
I saw a great chart recently which showed productivity by industry over the past 30 years and in all industries apart from Construction productivity per head has increased. There is a known skills shortage in Construction, and it’s known to be less productive per head than other industries so how can the industry transform and become more productive?
We are seeing companies like Daqri creating hard hats with augmented reality to enhance productivity, improve health and safety and reduce human error on the site. Other enhancements in wearable technology can signal to a person working on site when they enter a more dangerous part of the site.
This seems like more of a future doesn’t it? However it is possible for a robot to build a wall with the same precision as a human, a robot can self-build a bridge there will be more advancements in this field.
More is being asked of the finished product and complexity is increasing. Demand is high, over 3.3m new homes will need to be built in the UK over the next 15 years to cope with demand and globally by 2050 a new city of 1.4m people will have been built each week. How will industry cope with this demand?
Prefabrication is increasing as is the pressure to get it right first time.
Are you collaborating with your supply chain with a joined up approach? Are deliveries coming onto site tracked? What happens in the event of snow, or a flood, how quickly can your schedule be changed and supply chain alerted?
How are you reporting on site progress? Is a single real time report available? How does this progress compare to your other jobs?
Machines can be automated with greater precision that ever before, I met a customer recently who has installed automated controls on their diggers and installed CAT scanners to look out for cables. Drones are being deployed in the field to view things quickly, or to get to dangerous areas on a site. In the US, I have heard that drones are being used for a site fly by every day to capture site progress for a daily site meeting.
So coming back to 50bn devices by 2020 and 10bn more per year, we are going to see a huge rise in sensors being deployed on the building site. RFID tags could be built in to the pre-fabricated units, sensors added to machinery for remote diagnostics. How long will it be before your renting site equipment based on usage and performance? Sensors will make this possible and increase both efficiency and health and safety on site.
James Gall - Autodesk